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Saints’ Injuries and Lack of a Running Game Prove to be Too Much as Redskins Win 29-24

Brees under pressure
With a heat index over 100 degrees and wearing their black uniforms, the fatigue showed as the Saints were unable to hold onto a 9-point lead going into the fourth quarter. The Redskins had more rushing and receiving yards, a greater time of possession, and an interception but still trailed until the last six minutes of the game when they were able to score two touchdowns, an interception, and make a crucial fourth-down conversion to eliminate the Saints’ chances to pull out a victory.

The Saints struggled early in the first half with two turnovers in the first quarter alone: a fumble by Jeremy Shockey at Washington’s 28 yard line as the Saints were driving down on their first possession and an interception on the Saints’ 27 yard line on their second opportunity. Both plays were made by Washington S Chris Horton.

Their third possession early in the second quarter gave New Orleans their first lead of the game. After a sack and the offense unable to get a first down, the Saints punted the ball 52 yards to Washington’s 24. Antwaan Randle-El fumbled the ball during the return which was recovered by LB Troy Evans to set up the team’s first scoring drive: a one-yard touchdown run by RB Pierre Thomas with about eight and a half minutes to play in the first half.

The Saints did not run the ball much in the first half with a total of 21 yards rushing on 10 attempts and were unable to convert a third down. These problems continued to plague the team in the second half. New Orleans took the lead again with a quick drive downfield with about a minute left to make a 49-yard field goal, leaving the score Saints 10, Redskins 9 at the half.

However, the Saints opened up the game in the beginning of the third quarter with two touchdowns. WR Robert Meachem had his first catch as a Saint in the regular season for 19 yards and a touchdown on the Saints’ first drive of the second half. With less than 20 seconds to go in the third and following a sack on Redskins’ QB Jason Campbell by DB Chris Reis, Reggie Bush returned a punt 55 yards for the Saints’ third touchdown of the game.

The momentum appeared to be all for New Orleans as Washington had missed two field goals in the first half and missed a two-point conversion after RB Clinton Portis made his first touchdown run of the day.

But the Saints’ lack of a running game (only 55 total rushing yards in the game),only being able to convert three out of ten third downs, a tired defense that started to give up big plays, and an interception with three minutes to go in the game finally were too much. Just before the interception, the Redskins had made a single play drive for 67 yards that resulted in a touchdown. Drew Brees (22/33, 216 yards, 1 TD, 2 INT) and his playmaking ability in the end were not enough and the defense was visibly exhausted, missing several members of the starting lineup. They forced Washington into a fourth and two with a little less than two minutes to go but could not stop the Redskins from converting and winning the game.

The loss spoiled the news earlier today that the Saints had extended Coach Payton’s contract for another five years.

One piece of good news: Deuce McAllister had his first carry of the season in the second half for 5 yards, finishing the day with two carries for 10 yards.

Saints players that were inactive for the game were WR Marques Colston, CB Mike McKenzie, RB Aaron Stecker, S Roman Harper, CB Randall Gay, LB Scott Fujita, DT Antwan Lake, and DT Jermon Bushrod. LB Mark Simoneau is scheduled to undergo back surgery and will miss the rest of the season.

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6 Responses to “Saints’ Injuries and Lack of a Running Game Prove to be Too Much as Redskins Win 29-24”

  1. Bill says:

    Defensive injuries killed us today. Fujita is by far our best tackler, esp. in the open field, and the ‘Skins beat us repeatedly in space and in the flat. Also, the only DB with the speed to keep up with Santana Moss is McKenzie.

  2. Russ says:

    It wasn’t fatigue that killed the Saints, it was the lack of a pass rush. Cambell had all day to throw. Any conerback would have looked bad, so I can’t blame Porter. We should have blizzed a little more, and the team really needs to do some tackleing drills this week. Tackleing was horrible.

  3. savoy says:

    i agree with no pass rush. this game was very dissappointing. we need to blitz more to put some pressure on these QB’s. Deuce should not be on the sidelines. he gained 5 yrds on both of his carries. reggie dances too much in the backfield. also we need to run the ball so we won’t be a 1 dimensional team. other teams are going to figure us out if they haven’t already and it won’t be a pretty site. we need to do better… GEAUX SAINTS

  4. JMoney says:

    The defense was a big problem, however the offense was sputtering at best. It was encouraging to see Deuce out there, but I sure would like to see him get 15 carries a game! I totally agree with the Reggie comment. He needs to be utilized where he does best: at slot, or in a flashy screen play. Deuce is good for 4 or 5 yards every carry. I live in Albuquerque and I am headed up to Denver this weekend to watch the might Saints march in to Invesco stadium. Who dat der gonna beat dem Saints?

  5. Mikey says:

    If the Saints expect Pierre Thomas to shoulder most of the Deuce burden early in the season, they need to adjust their special teams personnel and take him off kick and punt coverage duty. The are wearing the kid out, and you could tell late in the game that he just didn’t have the explosiveness that he had last week vs Tampa. I also think thats the reason you saw Deuce at all this weekend. Thomas was just spent. Serious consideration needs to be made or the Saints will have another RB on the shelf with an injury.

  6. curtis derbigny says:

    I got to see this one up close – (MD resident) and for me it breaks down this way: Campbell played like a pro bowler because of Saints D, and Brees played like Campbell week 1 because of Skins D. Bottom line is heat, injuries, other excuses are just that, our Saints need an early gut check because what I saw was a last 7 fourth quarter minutes of pure ole school Saintball.

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